Restorative Justice Bill Introduced in Massachusetts
From the article by Pierre R. Berastain on Huff Post Crime:
The first victim-offender dialogue in Massachusetts occurred in 2006, when Janet Connors met with two of the men who had murdered her son Joel. Until that point, the State had not allowed victims of crime to meet with those who had caused them harm. For Ms. Connors, that day marked the beginning of a transformative and restorative journey toward reconstituting the fragments in the aftermath of Joel's murder. As she indicated to me in conversation, "Sitting it in that dialogue helped me feel that Joel's life matter and the taking of it mattered. It also very much helped hear them acknowledge their accountability and ultimately apologize. I felt that was coming from their heart." Ms. Connors told the men she would give them "half of her forgiveness." The other half came with their commitment to lead different lives.
Restorative justice is on the rise
From the article by Molly Rowan Leach at Huff Post Crime:
Restorative Justice is on the rise exponentially in the United States. As millions continue to experience and witness a collective 'justice' that is tainted by racial discrimination, by billions in profit, by the warehousing of our meek, a school-to-prison pipeline and by the practices of expecting punishment and isolation for all involved when crime occurs to actually function as rehabilitative, there is a form in the air, in the political, in the grassroots, in the hearts of the people, that offers a viable life-ring out of this deluge.
The author of Colorado's restorative justice program is going back for a rewrite.
First elected in 2010, state Rep. Pete Lee came to the Legislature at a disadvantage, as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled House. Despite this, his bill to institute restorative justice statewide — a practice in which an offender and his or her victim meet for therapeutic purposes — passed unanimously.
While that was a highlight for the freshman representative, Republican House Minority Leader Mark Waller says the bill passed only because of Republicans' willingness to compromise.
How to respond to violent crime? Ask the victims of crime
RJI will be exploring various legislative responses to violent crime in the U.S. and beyond. We will highlight in particular public policy recommendations that reflect responses based on restorative justice. At this time we are posting the following statute which came from legislation authored by crime victim and survivor Robert “Renny” Cushing who was elected and this year re-elected to the New Hampshire Legislature.
Legislature approves restorative justice for juvenile offenders
from the release from the House Democratic Caucus:
The state Senate voted 48-0 today to authorize a new evidence-based judicial option that encourages juvenile offenders to take responsibility for their actions and promotes a better understanding of how crimes impact victims.
Law is more than a profession, it's a calling: "Making a difference" through restorative justice
from the article by Michael C. Deering:
Before entering law school, a soon-to-be attorney dreams of “making a difference.” He dreams of representing clients as he advocates for truth and justice, as he lends his voice to those who cannot speak, as he defends the innocent and the young, and sets the wrong to right.
Then, reality sets in. Dreams of justice and zealous representation give way to stress and the everyday rigors of law school. Reading, briefing, and writing overwhelm the student. After three years of arduous work, the student graduates. Facing bar preparation, job searching in an economy that causes seasoned attorneys to shudder, and a mountain of educational debt, the graduate accepts work wherever he can find it.
Creating statutes to deliver restorative justice
Many U.S. state codes, as yet, make no reference to restorative justice. Then there are several states with statutes that refer to restorative justice as a process that may be provided under various circumstances, without going into detail. However, a small but growing number of state statutes establish a comprehensive system for providing restorative justice services. Here is a sampling of the diverse approaches being taken by some states.
Colorado recently enacted one of the most comprehensive U.S. restorative justice systems so far. Title 19, Art. 2, Part 2, Sec. 19-2-213. Restorative justice coordinating council provides for a "restorative justice coordinating council" to be established in the state judicial department within the office of the state court administrator. This council is to “support the development of restorative justice programs, serve as a central repository for information, assist in the development and provision of related education and training, and provide technical assistance to entities engaged in or wishing to develop restorative justice programs.”
Call the Governor: Restorative justice bill passes Colorado General Assembly
Colorado’s General Assembly passed legislation Wednesday night in the waning hours of its current session to include restorative justice practices among the options available to the justice system. Participation must be voluntarily chosen.
Senate sponsor Sen. Linda Newell and House sponsor Rep. Pete Lee guided the legislation through multiple votes. The House concurred with the Senate version in a vote late on May 11. HB 11-1032, now goes to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature.
Reintroduction of the Restorative Justice in Schools Act
from Tom Cavanagh's blog:
Become an supporter of the Restorative Justice in Schools Act. Below is the letter Congressman Steve Cohen sent to his colleagues asking for support for the bill.
We encourage you to cosponsor legislation that promotes providing school personnel (teachers and counselors) with essential training that has the potential to reduce youth incarceration.
Text of Virginia legislation concerning victim visits with prisoners
from the new statute:
The Department shall promulgate a policy to assist a person who was a victim of a crime committed by an offender incarcerated in any state correctional facility to visit with such offender. Such policy may include provisions necessary to preserve the safety and security of those at such visit and the good order of the facility, including consideration of the offender's security level, crime committed, and institutional behavior of the offender. The Department shall make whatever arrangements are necessary to effectuate such a visit. This subsection shall not apply to juvenile victims.
Senate Concurrent Resolution: Requesting the Department of Public Safety to factilitate the delivery of the Huikahi Restorative Circles Program in Hawai'i Correctional Facilities.
On 22 April, the Hawai'i State Legislature passed the Senate Concurrent Resolution 192 requesting that the department of public safety facilitate delivery of Huikahi Restorative Circles in state correctional facilities. Below are excerpts from the legislation: